Issue the teaspoons!

Third, where are the jobs for most people? Digitisation and robotics; AI and 5G are all about eliminating work. Nuclear employs a relative handful of people. Outside Cambridge so too do life sciences.

There would appear to be a glaringly obvious flaw in Theresa May’s plan. It’s called a lack of people who might create the demand for whatever it is she wishes to invest in. This is already one of the crises of modern capitalism: it is unable to think of things that people want or can afford.

Amazingly, people rather like their smartphones and those Amazon Echo things and Google’s machine translation and so on. They also like cheap ‘leccie if we can ever get some. And being able to supply those things using the labour of fewer people makes us richer. It’s called increasing productivity, you see? More value of output from each hour of human labour? That measure by which we are apparently not as efficient as France?

Second, the biggest energy issue is cutting usage and there is nothing in here focussed on that. Where is the building insulation and double glazing that is still needed to make the UK’s buildings energy efficient?

The UK needs a new industrial strategy, but it’s a Green New Deal that we need and not more remote tech that alienates people ever more from the world they live in, the companies that create what they consume and any chance of meaningful work.

We’ve just tried that, recall? Damaging millions of buildings in doing so?

It’s not just that he’s an ignorant twat it’s that he’s a fascist with it too.

25 comments on “Issue the teaspoons!

  1. I’d given up commenting on the Man from Ely.

    There are many more qualified than I to pull the carpet from under his feet.

    But, this takes the biscuit. Is it possible to get it even more the wrong way round?

    If he thinks that the energy problem in the UK has anything at all to do with a lack of building insulation then he is …

    If he thinks that we have reached the end of human imagination and opportunity creation then he is…

    Decent words fail me.

  2. This is already one of the crises of modern capitalism: it is unable to think of things that people want or can afford.

    Ships are queueing up, packed with junk from China. Everyone seems to have more cr@p than they know what to do with. Certainly the dumps seem full of it.

    I mean the mind boggles at whatever world he is phoning it in from.

  3. > Where is the building insulation and double glazing that is still needed to make the UK’s buildings energy efficient?

    He should try listening to commercial radio, where ads for condensing boilers and double-glazing abound. There’s no shortage of cheap financing offers too. I can’t fathom what he’s complaining about.

    Separately, there is a principal-agent problem of poor enerfy efficiency in rented properties. (I’d solve it by mandating that landlords have to pay 50% of their tenants’ utility bills.) But that’s a level above Ritchie’s comprehension.

  4. FFS, 5G is about increasing the efficiency of existing bandwidth to get more users at the same speed, what does he propose instead that will create jobs, a return to carrier pigeons?

    In my experience of working in the mobile industry each new technology has led to more employment, high skilled and high paying jobs at that, as we try to figure out how to deploy it and then optimise it. By the time that’s happened along comes the next technology. The MNOs haven’t finished deploying and optimising 4G yet and now they’re planning on 5G.

    I’ll bet the same goes for AI, or machine learning in the case of what he’s thinking about, all those people in places like Google trying to get the best results from the technology will be very well paid.

    He’s like my father in ’70s when he fell for all the “computers will kill all the jobs” bollocks. Technology moves us up the value chain. The difference is my father then saw what was really happening after explained it.

  5. Andrew M,

    “Separately, there is a principal-agent problem of poor enerfy efficiency in rented properties. (I’d solve it by mandating that landlords have to pay 50% of their tenants’ utility bills.) But that’s a level above Ritchie’s comprehension.”

    And there’s the difference, people in these parts try first to think of market solutions to a problem and only as a last resort turn to government mandate, his only thoughts are about government mandates.

    I was trying to explain the difference in a sailing forum where they seem to think a market means no regulation (the old Somalia trope) and I used the example of the heavily regulated mobile industry. When we had a duopoly prices were high and spectrum used inefficiently. The government, through Ofcom, had 2 options:

    1. Regulate prices (or even nationalise) – we know what happens here because we’ve seen it other countries, scarcity of phones, coverage and capacity.

    2. Issue more licenses – we saw what happened low prices, more coverage and capacity.

    Its a state of mind.

  6. “one of the crises of modern capitalism: it is unable to think of things that people want or can afford.”

    That’s got to be in the running for the stupidest thing he’s ever said.

  7. Have heard the ‘computers killing off all the jobs’ idea many times over the years. Since then we have record employment, large number of new businesses, its even possible to do a lot of work that was previously farmed out in business to be done yourself.
    I remember when a lot of the work was done without a computer. Far, far quicker with.
    And the people who would have been employed in those jobs? They went on to get other jobs.

  8. Andrew M said:
    “He should try listening to commercial radio, where ads for condensing boilers and double-glazing abound. There’s no shortage of cheap financing offers too. I can’t fathom what he’s complaining about.”

    He’s complaining because it isn’t being done by the Courageous State.

    And don’t suggest that he listen to commercial radio; he’ll only want to ban that too, like Tony Benn did.

  9. “Nuclear employs a relative handful of people. Outside Cambridge so too do life sciences.”

    What? I worked for a life science company in Camberley with 100+ people in it. And that wasn’t even a big one.

    But, one of the problems the lefties have, because they’re so out of date, is how businesses have changed. They still think in terms of mega employers: companies with a huge building with hundreds or thousands of employees. In my first job, the place I worked had a fleet department, a printing department and a catering department. All that activity is outsourced today.

  10. I used to run a division of Wren TSAs (I can’t remember what the acronym stood for – Technical Services Assistants?) They were the people who turned your rough sketches and written descriptions in to beautiful view foils. With builds!

    That skilled role has disappeared. Note also typing pools (not that I ever ran a division of Wren Writers.)

  11. Bloke in Wiltshire – “What? I worked for a life science company in Camberley with 100+ people in it. And that wasn’t even a big one.”

    Yeah but half of them were born as farm animals I am sure.

    “Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?”

  12. BiW,

    That leaves government with a measurement problem. When Camberley Life Sciences outsources its printing and catering, the government wrongly concludes that the science sector is shrinking and the printing & catering sectors are expanding.

    The answer as always is to look at productivity, ignoring other metrics.

  13. Nuclear employs a relative handful of people.

    Isn’t that rather the point? Lefties seem to think that if something can be done with fewer people, the government should step in and mandate that more people be “employed” doing it. It is effectively what public sector unions agitate for in the US, or the reason why it is so expensive to build anything in New York City.

    All the plans for green energy are always sold as “good jobs” for lots of people. Entergy is currently considering mothballing the Indian Point nuclear power plant in upstate New York because it is no longer competitive with natural gas generation (thanks to fracking), and in a letter to the Wall Street Journal one dim bulb actually writes that this is “good for the workers who will find jobs in the growing renewable energy sector.”

    Tim is right, of course, that employing fewer people to do the same thing makes us richer through the miracle of increased productivity. The leftist ideal, on the other hand, seems to be to employ more and more people doing the same thing. Taking this to its logical conclusion, we should use only human energy. Which maybe explains why the Democrats are the party of slavery.

  14. I’ve assumed that Murphy’s point about the infrastructure spending was to put the money in the pockets of unqualified, inexperienced, unemployed tradesmen and labourers.

    Brawny fellows wielding sledghammers.

    How is he then surprised when 1) the work now requires a bit of skill and 2) the work is done to a poor standard by cowboys (given the skilled ones are already busy and don’t need the extra work)?

  15. This is already one of the crises of modern capitalism: it is unable to think of things that people want or can afford.

    Tomorrow the crisis of capitalism will be that it has swamped us and we are unhappy with “over consumption”.

    I think he has a memory of about five hours.

  16. I think he has a memory of about five hours.

    He’s been known to have a memory of less than five sentences.

    Exactly what that equates to in time units would need some detailed study of fist typing.

  17. SMFS,

    “Yeah but half of them were born as farm animals I am sure.”

    I wish. I’d love some software work designing genetic mutations for Dr Moreau.

    All I did was patient recruitment/progress websites. Quite interesting in some ways.

  18. Murphy has written other such Luddite bullshit before. It’s a not uncommon attitude among the scientifically illiterate.

  19. BiCR

    As well as the economically, politically, technologically and historically illiterate also

    SE

    5 sentences – I’ve seen less than 3…. he is a literary goldfish

  20. Has all this progress got rid of the need for sex , security , sustenance and shelter?
    Used to be in big demand in my day.

  21. Actually, might his blog not be an illustration of his point? While he encourages pointless make-work like digging ditches and filling them up again to employ people, isn’t the constant recycling of contradictory posts on his blog an example of the same? The same inarticulate articles, repeated over and over?

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